- Number 439 |
- May 18, 2015
At DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory, the primary goal is innovation for safe and cost effective legacy waste cleanup. New methods are constantly being explored in order to protect workers and protect the environment. When Senior Scientist Dr. Aaron Washington realized that a radiological waste bag wasn’t lasting as long as he would like, he set about inventing a new one. As a result, Washington and his team of researchers created a “double-ply” waste containment bag capable of better containing nuclear waste.
Much like a household garbage bag is used to protect waste from leaking into a garbage can, special radiological waste bags are used to keep radiation from leaking into a storage container. After time, materials used to create these bags fail due to damage from intense or long-term exposure to radiation.
Scientists at the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Utrecht University have identified key mechanisms of the aging process of catalyst particles that are used to refine crude oil into gasoline. This advance could lead to more efficient gasoline production.
Their recent experiments studied so-called fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) particles that are used to break long-chain hydrocarbons in crude oil into smaller, more valuable hydrocarbons like gasoline.
“A major problem is that these catalysts quickly age and lose their activity, so tons of fresh catalysts have to be added to a reactor system every day,” said lead researcher Florian Meirer, assistant professor of inorganic chemistry and catalysis at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “We are trying to understand how this aging happens, and we’re working with companies that produce these FCC catalysts to make the process more efficient.”
A moth’s eye and lotus leaf were the inspirations for an antireflective water-repelling, or superhydrophobic, glass coating that holds significant potential for solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows, weapons systems and many other products.
The discovery by researchers at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, is based on a mechanically robust nanostructured layer of porous glass film. The coating can be customized to be superhydrophobic, fog-resistant and antireflective.
“While lotus leaves repel water and self-clean when it rains, a moth’s eyes are antireflective because of naturally covered tapered nanostructures where the refractive index gradually increases as light travels to the moth’s cornea,” said Tolga Aytug, lead author of the paper and a member of ORNL’s Materials Chemistry Group. “Combined, these features provide truly game-changing ability to design coatings for specific properties and performance.”